Greetings from San Cristobal, New Mexico. This week, the grandeur of Taos Mountain. The light, the storm, and the mountain’s ever-present beauty drew me here. It is why I stayed and continue to marvel at its grandeur. Whenever I commute to Taos, about 15 miles south, there is always something stunning to see that inspires me to stop and take a picture. Maybe even a nasty hail storm, although wild and scary to drive through, has its natural beauty.
A few minutes after stopping to take the image below, I arrived home to the roads covered in fingernail-size hail. Nothing like the golf ball hail other places receive but plenty big enough to strafe the trees and plants.
Moisture is a good thing despite the ferocious way it arrives.
Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week the Super, Blue Moon Rise from the deck at home in San Cristobal. I said I would share the moon rise if the skies were clear. They cooperated fully, with the thin veil of clouds adding an air of mystery.
I’ll begin with the first glow I saw about five minutes before the moon appeared. It gave me time to adjust my settings and anticipate the next few shots.
Of course, every moon rise is a sight to see. I am always excited as the moon clears the mountains where we live. Also, there is nothing like having a bright moon that you can drive with your headlights off and see the driveway ahead and the whole valley beyond lit up. The upside is that it’s like daylight in the house, so no nightlights are needed. The downside, sleep may be elusive on such a night.
Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week, super rainbows and a supermoon moonrise, around the Taos Valley. The Blue, Supermoon is this evening. If it looks spectacular and we are not clouded over I will post a shot next week.
The rainbows began with the monsoon rains that we finally experienced in abundance in the San Cristobal Valley. I think our neighbors in other parts of the county were jealous. I posted numerous images of rainbows from our field and over the foothills on social media. I didn’t have to go very far, but you know that already. However, last Saturday, the big monsoon rains arrived for all of Taos County. I could see the skies beginning to clear to the south, so I headed in that direction, towards Taos and got set up for a shot with Taos Mountain and hopefully a spectacular rainbow.
Below are images of what kept my attention, with dozens of people who were stopped and precariously parked along the highway through El Prado (the meadows).
Supernumerary or rainbow bands are “extra bands, usually pale pink or green in color, often seen on the inside of the primary rainbow. They result from interference of light rays which emerge from water droplets in the same direction”. I hope that makes sense. I don’t know the science of it, but I like the results that occur. Here’s another shot from last July when I found out about these bands.
With the upcoming supermoon and a blue moon tonight, I took a client on a photo tour for a few hours around sunset yesterday. We were looking for something particular, but I knew we’d have time to scout a few locations. My ideal shot would be the moon rising over the Saint Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos. I’ve done it before, so I had that idea in mind with perhaps a different angle.
When the moon initially peaked over the ridge south of Ranchos de Taos, it looked nice, though the sky was a little hazy and not so blue (is it ever blue?) like this one when it occurred in March 2018. We took a few shots of the moon and the sunset and then headed to my planned location at the iconic church.
Last but not least the not-quite-full supermoon rises at the Saint Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos.
As always thank you for looking. I hope you’ll join me for the next Blue Supermoon in 2037. I’ll see you here! Have a good week. G
Greetings from San Cristobal, the valley, and beyond. This week a fleeting rainbow makes an appearance. The morphing mountain clouds put on a show. Bighorn sheep show off their stature, and a sweet little dove preens itself in the garden.
The storms here move quickly. They say the best camera is the one you have on you. In this instance, it was the iPhone. I was sure to get as many shots as possible before popping into the house to get the big Sony. By the time I got back outside, the rainbow had vanished. The clouds still looked stunning, but those were gone very soon after. Sometimes I think nature has a way of taunting us or at least attempt’s to keep us alert and on our toes. Not from the deck this time but a few steps into the meadow.
The clouds spent the morning building into the afternoon canyon and ridge formations. Changes occur in no time at all. As they say in the Southwest, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” I have plenty of time to look and time to stare, which reminds me of a poem my friend Martin would occasionally recite.
What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies
A couple of days later, this pastoral evening scene happened. I could watch it from my deck chair. I had to move to get this photo, but not that much.
I’d heard reports of these three a week before this photo. I was surprised to see them on my drive through the canyon last week. The cold weather we have experienced for a few weeks made them stay put. They have fresh grass and a dirt mound, with a fortress-like view, in all directions. They weren’t bothered by me or others but seemed to enjoy the company and attention.
I know they are an introduced species, and we have both Eurasian-collared Doves and Mourning Doves in the garden. This one immigrant put on a show last week on the fence post. I enjoyed watching it.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. As always thanks for looking. See you next week. G
Greetings from San Cristobal, New Mexico. This week, “Close the Gate”, a sunset from the deck, Dennis Hopper in Taos, and a short video of the outstanding Shiprock formation in the four corners area of the American Southwest.
Sunset over the north flanks of Pueblo Peak, (Taos Mountain) from the deck, naturally. I shared the view with a good friend and a glass of Talisker single malt.
It’s Dennis Hopper Day in Taos, May 27, 2023. I had the good fortune to take a number of pictures of Dennis. Here is the last photo I shot of him driving through Taos Plaza, shortly before he passed. He was very gracious to me and I enjoyed meeting him.
I shot the video below of Shiprock driving through the Four Corners area of the American Southwest last spring. It’s time to get out there again. Perhaps this coming fall.
Greetings from San Cristobal. This week some images from northern New Mexico, Scotland, and England.
I shot the dramatic image of sunset clouds from a friend’s land near the village of Tres Piedras, just off US Highway 64, the other mother road. I took the moonset out of the bedroom window. I shot it ten years ago, but this is how it looked when the full moon set last Saturday morning. We have spectacular views where we live across the volcanic plateau to the west. The clouds at sunset appear to roll over the landscape and beyond over the mountains.
I threw a virtual dart at one of my hard drives again, and this image of a bighorn sheep ram popped up. I don’t know much about their nature, but, I do know, they own the canyons and rocks.
An early morning shot on a photo tour at the iconic Saint Francis Church.
I came across this image when scanning slides a couple of weeks ago. I collaborated with a writer in 1989 on a story on the churches on the high road to Taos. The story was not published, but we had a good time, made many images, and learned a lot about the history, people, and culture of northern New Mexico.
Rock stackers are everywhere. I shot this image in Scotland a few years ago. It doesn’t work for me in wilderness areas. Besides, cairns make less obvious trails on the mountains and moors and are essential to finding one’s way. What you see in this photo, is a place just beyond the road where bus tours and cars stop to admire the view. What do you think?
I love that nature will thrive wherever and however, it will. This tenacious tree seems to be doing quite well.
I’m up and fully mobile again. I’m walking up to 2+ miles a day. Some days less, some days more. Thank you so much to all my friends and family who checked in on me. Immeasurably thanks and gratitude to my lovely wife, Pami, for taking care and putting up with me!
What started with a picture of sunset clouds took me, once again, down the hard drive rabbit hole.
I look forward to seeing you in New Mexico if it’s on your travel plans this year.
Greetings from San Cristobal, on this beautiful Spring day. The light in the late afternoon is remarkable. The clouds roll through, and spring storms envelop the valleys and the mountain peaks in waves. The sun gets through where it will, spotlighting the new growth.
Click on pictures to enlarge.
The acequias, irrigation ditches that divert water across northern New Mexico are flowing full in the spring runoff. This time last year, New Mexico’s largest wildfire was underway, ultimately destroying 350,000+ acres. We are very grateful for the moisture this year.
Flashback to North Wales, where I lived and worked at an Outdoor Pursuit Center on the west coast in 1974-75.
The Ogwen Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in North Wales. During that year, I spent many days rock climbing in the area with the guides and instructors I worked with. The Idwal slabs in the upper left of the picture are one of the most popular places to climb in Wales. I shot this picture on a return visit to Wales in 2013.
A year in Wales may sound like a long time to visit and see all the sites. I had never traversed the Crib Goch Ridge seen in the picture below while living there. On a visit there in 1982, it was time to add the route to the list of the places I climbed and hiked. It was a marvelous experience, one I’ll remember for life. It’s not a very difficult hike, but I did take along enough gear and clothing prepared should I have to spend the night out there. Weather in this part of Wales, with the storms coming off the Atlantic and Irish Seas, can change rapidly, turning a warm, early summer day into a winter day.
As always, thank you for looking. Have a great week. G.
Greetings from San Cristobal. This week, a trip down memory lane, a visual flashback of images from my first few trips and early years in New Mexico.
Looking back it’s hard to visualize almost 40 years since I took the first photograph below in November 1984. The images are in no particular order and captioned with the place and year.
Traveling down memory lane has inspired me to start scanning what will ultimately be a few thousand transparencies. All images are scans of Kodachrome 64 slide film. I hope you enjoy the visit.
I’ve photographed the church of San José de Gracia in Las Trampas more times than I can count. Below is my very first shot during my first time visiting New Mexico. I have other shots from the trip but I like this one because of the dog sitting casually, minding its own business. Nowadays tourists are the ones getting in my shots.
The sign at the Taos Inn is still welcoming visitors to Taos. No more curios that I know of. Some local characters may pass for curios.
I’d appreciate someone letting me know what vehicles these are. I’m pretty certain the car on the right is a Ford. Currently, the Ford and Adobe are still there.
Traveling during August in New Mexico 1985 many small scale purveyors of local havests, their roadside stands festooned with the red and the green chiles were in abundance and a treat to photograph.
I shot the image below shortly after Dennis Hopper finished filming a murder scene in this old adobe building in the movie Backtrack with Jodie Foster. The adobe home was demolished this year.
Flashback to the Ranchos de Taos Plaza when the Magic Sky Gallery (coral colored building) was open with a boardwalk and planters.
Currently, the Stewart House” formerly a BandB buildings are no longer visible from this location, as many homes now occupy the foreground. Vallecito Peak in the background has become a favorite subject for my work. Change, is the only constant, along with death and taxes.
Plenty of snow my first winter in New Mexico. That’s my 1958 Volkswagen Beetle buried there in front of the house.
Here’s a picture of my friend and artist, Harry Vedoe when we skied from Talpa and way beyond into the hills. Later in the day we had a wonderful run down and soak in the Ponce de Leon hot springs before heading home. In the winter of February 1989, we had a lot of snow. We were able to cross-country ski out the door on many occasions.
This tree has been featured in my work for many years. After thriving for many years it has finally succumbed to neglect and lack of moisture. It’s still standing, for now.
A drive to Sandia Crest revealed a trail worthy of an afternoon stroll in the fresh snowfall, with views to the west of Albuquerque.
The bison below escaped from the herd at Taos Pueblo. I happened to be driving along and took some shots before it was caught and returned to the Pueblo.
As always, thanks for looking. Have a great week. G